The music on this disc is unique, and for lovers of plucked stringed instruments it should hold a good deal of interest. Giovanni Antonio Terzi was an Italian lutenist of the late sixteenth century. Little is known of his life and works, but, like other lutenists of the day, he intabulated (notated in tablature) a variety of secular and sacred polyphonic works. The source material for the music on the program here comes from composers such as Marenzio, Striggio, Correggio, even Palestrina.
What makes these particular works unusual, though, is that they are for two lutes, with one playing the original material and the other performing “diminutions” of it — highly ornamented, virtuoso material often based on the top line of the original. These diminutions, which lutenists would often improvise, were among the sources of the variation form as it flourished over the next several centuries. Examples from seventeenth century England are more common than those from Italy, and the two-lute configuration of these pieces is also unusual; the second lute does not simply break down the first lute’s line, but enters into rapid-fire dialogue with it, creating a texture somewhat reminscent of the instructional duets written by Lassus and other composers of the era.
The program as a whole has a homogeneity that will likely focus the attention of those familiar with the performance issues involved and diffuse that of others. But the Flemish lute team of Michiel Niessen and David van Ooijen offers clarity and precision that will be impressive for any listener. The Turtle label’s Super Audio sound, auditioned here on a good conventional stereo, is top-notch.
Canzon Francese Allermifault, Di Adriano
Liquide Perle Di Luca Marenzio A 5.
A Duoi Liutti Vnisoni, Un’altra Canzone
Vestiva I Colli. Prima Parte. A 5. Del Palestina
Così Le Chiome Mie. Seconda Parte A Duoi Liutti
S’ogni Mio Ben A 6, Del Striggio
S’ogni Mio Ben, Vn’altra Contraponto Sopra L’istesso a L’unisono
Susanne Un Iour. Canzon Francese A 5. Di Orlando Lasso
Anchor Ch’io Possa Dire A 6. Del Striggio
Petit Iaquet. Canzon Francese A 4. Di Claudio Da Correggio
A Duoi Liutti Vnisoni, Canzon Di Claudio Da Correggio
Non Mi Toglia Il Ben Mio Di Marc’ Antonio Ingigneri